Election standoff ends in New Mexico county after false fraud claims threw main certification into query

The Otero County Fee voted 2-1, with one of many central figures within the refusal to certify the outcomes, Commissioner Couy Griffinvoting “no.”

“We truthfully do not have a alternative,” Fee Chairwoman Vickie Marquardt stated earlier than the vote, citing the potential for fines and removing from workplace if the panel ignored an order from the state Supreme Courtroom to certify the first outcomes.

Griffin, who was sentenced earlier Friday in Washington, DC, for his position within the January 6, 2021, assault on the US Capitol, referred to as in to the assembly and stated his “intestine feeling and instinct” advised him to oppose the transfer. He additionally railed towards what he referred to as the “overreach of the state authorities.”
New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, had efficiently sought a state Supreme Courtroom order this week to drive the certification. The all-Republican fee had refused on Monday to certify the outcomes – citing considerations about Dominion voting machines and questions on a handful of particular person votes on this month’s main.

Friday marked the deadline for New Mexico counties to certify outcomes.

“I’m relieved that the Otero County Fee lastly did the best factor and adopted their obligation beneath New Mexico regulation to certify the free and truthful outcomes of the 2022 Major Election,” Oliver stated in a press release. “The voters of Otero County and the candidates who’ve received their primaries can now relaxation assured that their voices have been heard and the Basic Election can proceed as deliberate.”

The confrontation in New Mexico had set off alarms amongst voting rights advocates nationwide, who feared the commissioners’ preliminary actions marked a preview of disruptions to come back – as debunked election conspiracy theories superior by former President Donald Trump and his allies take maintain in components of the nation.

“That is the canary within the coal mine for 2022 and 20224,” Jonathan Diaz, senior authorized counsel for voting rights with the nonpartisan Marketing campaign Authorized Heart, stated of the Otero County certification delay. “I feel it is reflective of the pernicious nature of the lies in regards to the election that the previous President and his allies had been spreading within the aftermath of that election and proceed to unfold right this moment.”

This week, Oliver additionally made a legal referral to the state’s legal professional basic, urging an investigation of the fee over what she referred to as “a number of illegal actions” – together with the preliminary refusal to certify the outcomes of the first and voting to take away poll drop packing containers .

Marquardt advised a crowded listening to room Friday that Oliver, the state Supreme Courtroom, state legislature and Legal professional Basic Hector Balderas, a Democrat, “are railroading this fee into rubber-stamping approval beneath the specter of legal costs and jail.”

“I shall be of no use to the residences of Otero County from jail or if I am faraway from the workplace,” she added.

In a Thursday information launch, Marquardt stated she was not in search of to relitigate the 2020 election however had particular considerations about certification of the state’s voting system and about three votes allegedly “solid from an handle the place people dwelling there are deceased.” At Friday’s assembly, she stated her questions on these votes had been addressed by the county election officers.

Griffin, who had been convicted in March on a misdemeanor trespassing cost, prevented jail time Friday and was sentenced to 14 days with time served, fined $ 3,000 and given one yr of supervised launch with the requirement that he full 60 hours of group service.

Griffin, who co-founded the Cowboys for Trump, had struck a defiant tone outdoors the Washington courtroom earlier Friday, saying Oliver’s legal referral “speaks volumes in regards to the vindictiveness of New Mexico politics right this moment.”

A bit greater than 7,300 Otero County voters solid ballots on this month’s main, in accordance with the secretary of the state workplace. Trump simply received the Republican stronghold in 2020.

However officers within the southern New Mexico county of roughly 68,000 folks have confronted scrutiny earlier than over their election-related conduct.

The fee earlier this yr licensed a third-party evaluate of the county’s 2020 election outcomes. It included an “audit drive” going door-to-door to query voters – prompting the US Home Oversight and Reform Committee to launch an investigation.
A settlement settlement between the county and an organization it had contracted to undertake the evaluate concluded that “No Election Fraud” had been discovered.

The Marketing campaign Authorized Heart’s Diaz stated it was “a reassuring signal” that the New Mexico Supreme Courtroom had moved so swiftly to drive the certification. He stated he would hoped it might “function a warning shot to different county boards and folk concerned within the canvassing and certification course of in elections that this isn’t acceptable, and you can not disable the votes of the American folks.”

This story has been up to date with extra reporting Friday.

CNN’s Holmes Lybrand contributed to this report.


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